January 05, 2013 Features & Images » Feature Story

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A look back at 2012

click to flip through (4) PHOTO SUBMITTED - A decision has yet to be reached on the University Lands, although groundwork has been set.
  • Photo Submitted
  • A decision has yet to be reached on the University Lands, although groundwork has been set.

When you divide the hours, the sleepless nights, the closed-door meetings, the committee commitments, and the plain fact that you're never off the clock, you are always the mayor — just how much money is Nancy Wilhelm-Morden making per hour? Not enough, it seems..."I want my ten grand back," she deadpanned, as she begins a rundown of accomplishments in 2012.

She speaks in jest but the sheer volume of work accomplished in 2012 is nothing to scoff at.

The mayor took home just over $70,000 this year for her troubles, $10,000 less than her predecessor. But that was her choice. In her campaign for office she vowed to take a pay cut — a signal of sorts that she would be the one to trim the fat at the hall, if elected.

Now with a year under her belt and a steady stream of checkmarks next to her ongoing and never-ending list of things to do, Wilhelm-Morden began her reflections on 2012 with a simple comment that let's us know she is working hard for her money.

There were huge council coups this year — like securing the new Audain Art Museum and Ironman — and disappointing failures — like the losing the X Games bid and a judge's ruling on the asphalt plant — when things did not pan out as planned.

But through it all was a constant — a cohesive council team with a collective mantra. They wanted to restore the community's faith in municipal hall and rebuild trust, be accountable and transparent in all matters.

To be fair, in many ways fate has shined on council this past year. The new team was elected into office as the snow began to fall in Whistler, and nowhere else, or so it seemed. That spelled good news all around for the resort — hotels were busier, restaurants were hopping, and in early February Whistler Blackcomb was reporting a 31 per cent increase in destination guests in its first quarterly report of the year. There was an all around air of optimism.

But putting it down to fate takes away from some of the tough decisions. And there have been many.

Decisions like eliminating a whole division at the hall just two months into the council term in early February. That got rid of a $146,000 per year general manager position and the now defunct policy and program development division. GM Mike Vance, a ten-year veteran at the hall, was the casualty of that decision. It was part of an organization overhaul designed to find efficiencies and savings at the hall.

And it was a clear signal of shake up.

Council also released its Council Action Plan in February — a three year high-level workload of sorts developed at its January retreat. On the list of things to do: initiate a draft cultural plan, create an oversight committee to oversee the $6 million plus RMI (Resort Municipality Initiative) funds for tourism projects, revitalize the annual financial planning process and pursue an economic development strategy.

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